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World Health Day 2017

7 April 2017 – The focus for World Health Day 2017 depression. The goal is that more people with depression, everywhere in the world, should both seek and get help. Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. More than 300 million people are living with depression. As many as one in six South Africans suffer from anxiety or depression. Furthermore, research reveals that over 40% of people living with HIV in South Africa have a diagnosable mental disorder.

People do not know where to go to get help, or are too frightened to seek it, due to the stigma attached to mental illness. Stigmas surrounding mental health pose a major stumbling block when it comes to treating the disease in South Africa. In Zulu, there is not even a word for ‘depression’. As a result, of it not being considered a “real” illness, sufferers are afraid of being discriminated against, that is, being disowned by their families or fired from work, should they admit to having a problem. There is the prevalent perception that someone with a mental illness is crazy, dangerous or weak. The absence of physical symptoms with mental illness, also causes doubt that it is, a mere figment of the imagination.

The first step to helping patients is to get them to talk about it. Many sufferers feel alone, scared and misunderstood. Increased awareness and educating the public about mental health issues will encourage more people to share their diagnoses and seek help.

In everything that we do, we believe in giving hope and restoring dignity.